Wow, this is surreal… EPI economist Max Sawicky points out (correctly) that I may have been too quick when I noted that the Bush adminstration broke Clinton's 2000 record for new federal regulations. It's certainly true if we're just doing a page count of new rules. But the page count by itself isn't necessarily that important. First, because some of those rules are replacing existing (perhaps more onerous) rules and don't represent any net increase. Second, because knowing the number of regulations doesn't tell you how bad they are: It would not be an improvement to replace the thousands of pages of the Federal Register with one simple sentence saying "all business decisions must be approved by the Supreme Council." And Max points to an OMB report [2.4m PDF] indicating that many new regulations don't impose terribly burdensome costs relative to their benefits.